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MILF reminds troops not to engage in political partisan activities

By: - Correspondent / @csenaseINQ
/ 04:17 PM April 01, 2013

MILF vice chairman for political affairs Ghadzali Jaafar. FILE PHOTO

COTABATO CITY, Philippines—The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has reminded its forces not to allow themselves to be used by politicians in any activity that would disrupt the much improved peace climate in Mindanao.

With the start of election campaign period for local candidates on Sunday, MILF vice chairman for political affairs Ghadzali Jaafar has appealed to “all armed and unarmed MILF members not to follow orders that would disrupt harmonious co-existence of our people.”

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“Let there be peace and allow our people to exercise their right of suffrage without threat and intimidation,” said Jaafar with a stern warning that violators may face “administrative sanctions such as suspension or possible relief that will be decided by the MILF Central Committee.”

He added that the coming synchronized ARMM and midterm polls should demonstrate the sincerity of the MILF as it works for the establishment of the Bangsamoro political entity.

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Jaafar reiterated that the group will remain neutral, “but non-combatant members and their families who are registered voters may freely choose their candidates.”

He said MILF commanders on the ground have been under instruction to adhere with the ongoing ceasefire agreement with the government.

Likewise, Jaafar enjoined candidates to be “above board” in their political rallies by presenting their platform of government without mudslinging or resorting to “personal attacks” that would create animosity and eventual violence.

Nash Maulana, regional executive director of the Bureau of Public Information, saw no need to resort to violence with the thought that most if not all candidates vying for elective posts in the ARMM are relatives by blood or by affinity.

Reelectionist Maguindanao Governor Esmael Mangudadatu of the ruling Liberal Party and arch rival from the United Nationalist Alliance, Sultan Kudarat Mayor Tocao Mastura also agreed to individually work for a peaceful, honest and orderly conduct of the May 13 polls.

Jaafar has urged the Commission on Elections, religious and civic leaders to continue holding peace covenant signing rites among warring bets in the ARMM provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.

Chief Superintendent Noel delos Reyes, ARMM police director, announced that there was no election-related violence on the first day of the campaign period in the region.

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“This is a good sign and let’s keep it that way,” Delos Reyes said, adding that “the ongoing GPH-MILF peace talks have something to do with the conducive tranquility that we are enjoying.”

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TAGS: ARMM, Elections 2013, MILF, peace process, Peace Talks, Politics, Regions
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